Modern hydraulic mining in the United States was started in 1949 by the American Gilsonite Company at Bonanza, Utah. Extensive research is now being carried out throughout the United States on the disintegration of rock and coal by water jet cutting. Universities, institutes, and government agencies are engaged in programs of hydraulic fragmentation research and mining. The Bureau of Mines has conducted research in hydraulic fragmentation and mining since 1958, chiefly to determine if coal could be mined economically by jets at pressures up to 5,000 psi. In 1966 this work was extended to laboratory studies on the cuttability of concrete and native copper ores by water jets at pressures up to 80,000 psi. Field studies have also been conducted on the frozen gravels of Alaska and the cemented gravels of California. At present, the Bureau has both in-house and contract programs directed at determining the feasibility of hydraulic mining of coal and metal and nonmetal ores, the feasibility of using water jets for hard rock tunneling, and the environmental impact associated with hydraulic fragmentation.
46th Ann. Mtg. AIME & Univ. of Minnesota 34th Ann. Min. Symp., 1/15- 17/73, Duluth, PP. 129-142